Saturday, February 28, 2015

Array of trails crisscross Ashland WI region

Sunset from observation tower at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center near
Ashland, Wis. Photo courtesy of Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.
Imagine a place where you can hike sandy beaches and enjoy fantastic vistas of the world’s largest freshwater lake, a place of towering pines that bald eagles fly over and black bears scamper beneath, a place where you can explore sea caves or hike across billion-year-old red rock. The place is real – it’s called Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

If Wisconsin were a mitten, Bayfield County would be the peak of the four fingers. With much of it a peninsula, it boasts more shoreline on Lake Superior than any other Wisconsin county. It also offers dozens of miles of trails for those who love hiking.

Part of the city of Ashland spills into Bayfield County, and often travelers on their way to Bayfield or Madeline Island pass through the town.

It offers excellent access to Chequamegon Bay via an urban hiking trail and is a short distance from the Chequamegon National Forest. In addition, one end of the Tri-County Trail, a former railroad bed converted to hiking trail that runs through Bayfield County to Superior, starts in Ashland.

The city’s highlight in Bayfield County is the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, which offers exhibits, demonstrations, and a trail, all dedicated to fostering an understanding of Lake Superior’s natural history and man’s interaction with the largest of the Great Lakes.

Popular day hiking trails in the Ashland area include:
g Doughboys’ Trail (Copper Falls State Park)
g Interpretive Boardwalk Trail (Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center)
g Morgan Falls St. Peters Dome Trail (Chequamegon National Forest)
g North Country National Scenic Trail (Copper Falls State Park)
g Roundup of Ashland County trails

Read more about day hiking Bayfield County in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Bayfield County, Wisconsin guidebook.